In an interview this week on CBS’s 60 Minutes, President Barack Obama referred to Israel’s concern over Iran’s march toward a nuclear program as “noise.”
“When it comes to our national security decisions — any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out — any noise that’s out there,” Obama says, according to AFP.
Here’s the transcript:
STEVE KROFT: “How much pressure have you been getting from Prime Minister Netanyahu to make up your mind to use military force in Iran?”
PRESIDENT OBAMA: “Well—look, I have conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu all the time. And I understand and share Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence that Iran should not obtain a nuclear weapon, because it would threaten us, it would threaten Israel, and it would threaten the world and kick off a nuclear arms race.”
STEVE KROFT: “You’re saying, you don’t feel any pressure from Prime Minister Netanyahu in the middle of a campaign to try and get you to change your policy and draw a line in the sand? You don’t feel any pressure?”
PRESIDENT OBAMA: “When it comes to our national security decisions—any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out—any noise that’s out there. Now I feel an obligation, not pressure but obligation, to make sure that we’re in close consultation with the Israelis—on these issues. Because it affects them deeply. They’re one of our closest allies in the region. And we’ve got an Iranian regime that has said horrible things that directly threaten Israel’s existence.”
AFP also reported that Obama said that “he understands and agrees with Netanyahu’s insistence that Iran not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons as this would threaten both countries, the world in general, and kick off an arms race.”
But, as the article points out, Obama will not be meeting with Netanyahu this week during the United Nations General Assembly.
Mitt Romney, who was also interviewed on 60 Minutes tonight, said, that Obama not meeting with Netanyahu “is a mistake and sends a message throughout the Middle East that somehow we distance ourselves from our friends and I think the exact opposite approach is what’s necessary.”